I’m Free! Free to Love and Serve

Two weeks ago when I walked into Galilee Christian Church in Jefferson, GA, for a few seconds I forgot to breathe.

Oh, the talent~

The love~ (the men served)

The exquisite details!

I was speaking at their annual Spring Ladies’ Tea.

Each table had been decorated from someone’s heart and home. I’m sure there was a story behind every plate and cup.

Simply gorgeous~as my grandmother would say. 

A tiny peek of the splendor–

Place cards…

They say, “Welcome! You matter.”

Fresh daffodils–

Delicate pink roses–

Springtime dogwoods–

Hospitality and graciousness covered the room, but the love didn’t end with the decorations.

This was at my place setting.

A gluten-free meal just for me.

Oh, and the people–

Meet Betty Williams and Sarah Trippe.

Years ago, Betty Williams (on the left) began having tea parties to make ladies feel loved and accepted. She turns 92 this week.

Isn’t that a lovely idea?

Mrs. Williams taught Sarah all her secrets, including how to make scones. The tea ministry is still thriving in their church, and Mrs. Williams now serves tea to the ladies at her assisted living.

Have you ever heard of anything more precious?

Some new friends who sat with me~

Let me introduce you to B.J. Thompson, better known as the Queen Candy Lady.

She makes incredible candy. She even has her own business cards!

She’s 90. ūüôā

Such a joy to be with her~

And this sign–

I knew it had a message for me.

It’s as if God said, “Julie, pay attention. This is important.”¬†

Zack, the photographer, helped me figure out the meaning. While I spoke, he sat on the front row and had the most wonderful expressions.

Happy eyes. Lots of nodding.

Afterwards, we had a chance to talk.

“I wanted to get a picture of you holding up your chain,” he said. “But I wasn’t quick enough.”

I laughed. “Want to take one now?”


I’d used the chain to share how certain lies I’d believed about myself had kept me bound for years.

And when Zack took my picture, I understood the sign.

That’s it!¬†That’s why I love the “I’m free” sign!

Jesus died to set us free.

To set ME free. 


When Jesus sets us free, we use our gifts, talents, and even our scars to serve others. Click to tweet.

“So, if the Son shall set you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 Click to tweet.

Can you relate?

What areas of serving others makes you happy?

Do you have scars that serve a purpose?




Lord, Bless the Banjo Players

(If you’re receiving this post twice, please forgive me. Some of my dear readers emailed to let me know my blog didn’t arrive as scheduled yesterday. I’m reposting. Blessings on your Thursday! Love to you all.)

Every¬†morning my husband Rick and I¬†start the day out rocking and talking on the¬†front porch having¬†a PORCH PARTY. Sunday morning I was in a talkative mood. Surprise-surprise. ūüôā

“Do you ever think much about banjo players?” I said.

“No, can’t say¬†I have.”

“You know that song ‘I Will Wait’ by MUMFORD AND SONS?”


I ran and got my laptop.¬†“Watch this.” I found the song on YOUTUBE.¬†“Most people notice the guitarist or the lead singer, but¬†check out¬†the banjo player. Look at his passion.”

“Um-hmm,” Rick said,¬†rocking slowly while I danced in my chair.



“Good music,” he said. “So, what’s your point about banjo players?”

“Where would we be without them?”

He gave me the woman-I’ll-never-understand-you look.

“Not just banjo players. I mean, quiet people. Background people.¬†The ones¬†who give their best and¬†rarely get noticed.”

“You mean, quiet givers?”

“Exactly. Like people who¬†knit baby booties and hats for the PREGNANCY RESOURCE CENTER where I volunteer. You should see the mamas’ faces when they get a handmade gift.”

Rick nodded. Sipped his coffee.

“I know a woman who paints recovery rocks for AA members. Can you imagine how that must feel? To find out someone cares. Maybe someone you’ve never met.”

“Quiet givers,” he said. “They don’t do it for show.”

“And they can light up a room. Or¬†a life.”


“They have no idea how deeply God’s using them,” I said.

Lord, bless the banjo players–the background people who give¬†quietly.

Because of their faithfulness…

 The rest of us can dance.

Do you know any quiet givers?

(Pic of booties Flickr Angela Schmeidel Randall)